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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2787

Monthly archive

Clock Ticking For Sri Lankan’s Civilians, Warns Un Humanitarian Chief

Time is running out for the thousands of civilians trapped in northern Sri Lanka amid the ongoing conflict between Government forces and Tamil rebels, according to the United Nations humanitarian chief, who has appealed once again for a temporary halt in fighting to assist the innocents. "As a full-scale, long-term ceasefire is unlikely to be agreed now, the only way to get the civilians out of harm’s way is a temporary humanitarian lull, during which aid workers and relief supplies must be allowed into the conflict zone, and those who want to leave must be given the chance to do so," John Holmes writes in an opinion piece published today in "The Guardian". Holmes, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, urges immediate action to help those trapped in the Vanni region, warning that "a bloodbath on the beaches of northern Sri Lanka seems an increasingly real possibility."

UNESCO 'Treasure' Lester James Peries honoured in Paris

UNESCO described Sri Lankan film director Lester James Peries as one of the greatest film personalities in the world. Addressing the audience before screening of the film Gamperaliya to honour Lester on his 90th birthday at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on April 6, UNESCO representative recalled that Lester was one of the two recipients of Fellini Award in Paris and the other award winner was great Hollywood actor/director Clint Eastwood. Lester James Peries is also listed in the most prestigious ‘Treasure List’ of UNESCO, which is the world’s most prestigious institution for culture.

Were LTTE suicide pilots Tamil Canadians?

By Panduka Senanayake

Intelligence services and other agencies are probing whether Canadian pilots flying for the Tamil Tigers carried out the recent abortive suicide attacks on Colombo during which their aircrafts were destroyed by the Sri Lanka Air Force. The probe follows strong indications that the two pilots could very well be Canadian nationals of Sri Lankan origin who gained entry to Canada as refugees and obtained citizenship. Suspicions of the authorities were aroused following photographs published in the Tiger media of an elaborate ceremony in Canada to mark the deaths of the two men.

UN team probing Benazir’s assassination briefed about earlier findings

By Farzana Shah-Asian Tribune correspondent in Pakistan

Benazir BhuttoA six-member team of the United Nations (UN) headed by Mark Quarterman arrived in Pakistan to probe assassination of Benazir Bhutto called on Interior Advisor Rehman Malik on Wednesday. The interior advisor briefed the UN team about the findings so far in the case besides informing it about the Scotland yard investigation report. Later, talking to the media Malik said it is not an investigation team but it is an advance technical assessment committee arrived to review the security of the UN investigation commission.

Washington Commentary: Obama in Europe – a change of approach but the waters did not part

By Ernest Corea

President Obama has returned home from a whirlwind tour of Europe, having tried hard to undo in eight days the damage done to America’s standing abroad in the recent past. In his brief but hectic Grand Tour, Obama visited six countries, attended three summit meetings (G20, NATO, and the European Union), extended the hand of friendship and partnership to the world’s Muslims, held one-on-one meetings with 19 world leaders, untied two diplomatic knots, gave two major addresses, held two town hall meetings, conducted six news conferences, and visited a theater of war. After that effort, it must have felt good to be welcomed home by public opinion polls reaffirming his continued high standing. He was greeted by low ratings from his critics, as well.

Bangladesh cabinet cancels lease of opposition leader Khaleda Zia’s cantonment’s house

M.A. Kader-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Bangladesh

The Cabinet of Bangladesh on Wednesday cancelled the lease of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Khaleda Zia's cantonment residence in Dhaka. Prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told reporters emerging from a cabinet meeting held at the cabinet division yesterday. The house was allocated to Khaleda Zia without a decision of the cabinet in 1981. The present cabinet believes that the lease is illegal, Azad said.

US drone strike kills 4 tribesmen in Pakistan

By Farzana Shah-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Pakistan

At least four people were killed when a US drone fired two missiles at their vehicle in Daza Ghundi area in South Waziristan region on the Afghan border on Wednesday. Gangi Khel is a village around five kilometres (three miles) west of Wana, the main town in the semi-autonomous South Waziristan district. According to residents and official sources the drone was flying very low and as soon as militants in a truck opened fire at it, a missile was fired that hit the vehicle and killed four militants.

Bangladesh parliament has filled all its 345 seats as by-poll winners sworn in

M.A. Kader-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Bangladesh

All seven MPs elected in the April 2 by-elections took oath on Wednesday taking their places to fill the last seats of the 345-strong national parliament. Speaker Abdul Hamid administered oaths at the parliament building in Dhaka. In the by-election of April 2 ruling Awami League gained three more seats, including Jatiya Party stronghold Kurigram-2, in the by-elections. Main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) won two seats, Bogra-7 going to former speaker Mohammad Jamiruddin Sircar, and Bogra-6 to former law minister Moudud Ahmed.

Consumers worried as power tariffs to be raised by 4pc

By Farzana Shah-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Pakistan

Consumers already hit hard by heavy power bills are worried over news of further hike in the power tariff as under an agreement with IMF, Pakistan intends to increase the tariff. Power tariffs for consumers will be raised by four per cent before June 30, 2009, a latest report of the IMF released on Tuesday confirmed. It further states the Pakistani authorities are also considering levy of carbon tax. Any shortfall in tax revenues of Rs1,300 billion annual target will be compensated by revenues from the Petroleum Development Levy (PDL),

Sri Lanka President Guest of Libyan Col. Muammar Al – Gaddafi

Mahinda Rajapaksa welcome by Aubagdad Al-MahmuddiSri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa arrived in Serte, and exclusive Libyan airport, yesterday (08) at 04.10 pm Sri Lanka time. Serte, located in the vicinities of Libyan President Col. Muammar Abu Minyar Al – Gaddafi’s hometown, is an exclusive airport reserved to honor visiting Heads of State. Libyan Prime Minister Dr. Al Baghdadi Ali Al Mahmudi together with Foreign Minister Moosa Mohammad Cosa were in waiting at Serte to receive the President and the state delegation. Upon his arrival, with state honors, Sri Lanka President arrived at the VVIP platform on a special red carpet. The President and entourage were thereafter led along the red carpet whilst being accorded special state honors and military gun salute.

Locals form tribal force to fight back militants in northwest Pakistan

By Farzana Shah-Asian Tribune Correspondent in Pakistan

The residents of Buner district of North West Frontier Province of Pakistan have formed Lashkars (tribal force) in all nine tehsils of district Buner to fight against militants entering from Swat. The locals vowed not to allow their land for terror activities by the militants and decided to fight back the Taliban militants by forming tribal force known as lashkar in the tribal region of northwest Pakistan. According to locals of Buner each lashkar will contain 100 people armed with heavy weapons to fight back and push back Taliban militants entering from neighbouring Swat valley.

Eleven local/ global giants vie for US$ 1.2 billion Colombo South Port

By Ravi Ladduwahetty- Sri Lanka Editor- Asian Tribune

A total of eleven corporate giants, both local and overseas, are vying for the construction and operation of the US$ 1.2 billion plus Colombo South Port. What is moot is that there are four local Colombo Stock Exchange listed conglomerates who have proven track records in shipping and who have agencies for global shipping lines - John Keells Holdings PLC, Aitken Spence Shipping (a wholly owned subsidiary of the Aitken Spence PLC Group), Hemas Holdings PLC and Hayleys PLC also are in the fray. Another highlight is that another member of the John Keells Holdings Group- South Asia Gateway Terminals is also in the eleven member grouping.

LS elections draw near: TN parties return to SL Tamil issue, ask Colombo to stop war, DMK to hold rally in Chennai today

By M Rama Rao, India Editor, Asian Tribune

Sonia Gandhi As Indian parliamentary elections are drawing near, and the situation in Vanni is becoming desperate for the Tigers by the day, the political parties in Tamil Nadu have returned to Tamil issue of Sri Lanka. And their refrain is ‘Sri Lanka Government! Stop War’! While MDMK of Vaiko held some demonstrations in its strongholds and asked for Sonia Gandhi’s intervention for an early ceasefire, Jaya Amma of AIADMK launched a broadside against Sonia Congress and her local betenoire Muthavel Karunanidhi. The DMK supremo has sent cables to Prime Minister and Congress President for securing an immediate cessation of hostilities. He will lead a 'Tamils rally' in Chennai on April 09.

Bangladesh Should Introduce Anti-terrorism legislation

By William Gomes

The Islamic terrorist activities resulting in death of uncounted innocent and spreading the message of hearted and violence. Bangladesh have had failed to deal with the Islamic terrorism by the years. The root of Islamic terrorism was rooted historically by defining the Islam as a "state religion". The historical rotten root of political Islam and Islamic extremism was rooted by the long absence of secular parliament democracy. By knocking down the secular ascent of the constitution of Bangladesh the dirty politicians characterized Bangladesh from secular to Islamic Bangladesh. Many nations all around the world have already successfully introduced anti terrorism legalization including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and United States. It’s the need of time for Bangladesh to introduce and well and constructive Anti terrorism legislation

SAARC cultural centre governing board meets in Colombo

The Governing Board of the SAARC Cultural Centre held its first meeting at Galadari Hotel in Colombo on 6-7 April 2009 with the participation of Members from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka and officials of the SAARC Secretariat. The Meeting followed the ceremonial opening of the Office of the SAARC Cultural Centre in Colombo on 25 March by Minister of Foreign Affairs Rohitha Bogollagama. The delegation of Sri Lanka to the Meeting made a presentation on the construction of the building in Nawimana, Matara which will be the eventual home of the SAARC Cultural Centre. The building is designed in line with traditional architecture in the region, especially the concept of ‘touching the ground lightly’ where construction is carried out in harmony with nature.

Benazir Bhutto

Ernest Corea